Deaf Culture Training

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What is Deaf culture?


The language we use matters and our word choices can have a significant impact on perceptions in our society. It is essential that when we talk about the Deaf community, we use language that is respectful, accurate, and representative of the Deaf experience. Let’s review some important terms.

  • Establishes the standard as “hearing” and anything different as “impaired” or substandard.
  • Focuses on hearing loss and does not acknowledge an individual’s Deaf identity or community.
  • Not accepted by members of the Deaf community.
  • A partial or total inability to hear.
  • Hearing loss has a variety of causes and may be:
    • bilateral or unilateral
    • symmetrical or asymmetrical
    • progressive or sudden onset
    • fluctuating or stable
    • present at birth or acquired later in life
  • Deafness is not a disability, but an identity and culture that offers unique perspectives and potential.
  • The Deaf community contributes to the diversity of the world in ways that benefit all people.
  • Deafness does not need to be fixed or cured.
  • A distinct language that has its own grammar and syntax.
  • A visual language primarily expressed with the hands and face using placement, space, eye gaze, and other unique features.
  • An acronym for a child of Deaf adults, referring to a person who was raised by one or both parents who are Deaf.
  • CODAs are often bilingual and serve as liaisons between Deaf and hearing communities.

Some individuals identify as “Deaf” and others identify as “deaf”. Although the same word, these terms have different meanings.

What is the difference between uppercase “D” Deaf and lowercase “d” deaf?

The uppercase “D” Deaf refers to a specific group of Deaf people who share a language and a culture.

The lowercase “d” deaf refers to the audiological condition of not hearing.